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A reappraisal of the Dinantian floras at Oxroad Bay, East Lothian, Scotland. 2. Volcanicity, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology

  • Richard M. Bateman (a1) and Andrew C. Scott (a2)

Abstract

The classic late Tournaisian plant-bearing locality at Oxroad Bay was investigated by detailed field mapping, lithological logging, studies of clast orientation, thin-section petrography and analyses of bulk geochemistry. The lithologically and structurally complex, c. 45 m-thick succession includes eight plant-bearing exposures (each consisting of up to 16 phytofossiliferous horizons) that have yielded 43 anatomically-preserved organ-species and 19 adpressed organ-species. All floral assemblages are allochthonous s.l. and demonstrate a wide range of preservation states. They occur in five successive facies (braided flood-plain, shallow volcanigenic lacustrine, terrestrial mass-flow/base-surge, shallow biogenic lacustrine, dominantly terrestrial reworked ashes) that reflect increasing influence of several basaltic tuff-ring volcanoes on an ocean-marginal lowland bordering the Southern Uplands Massif. The variable local climate reflected proximity to the proto-North Sea and eruptive seeding of the atmosphere with ash particles. Base-surges, seismically-initiated mass-flows and volcanically-induced wildfires restricted the development of mature soils and of edaphic climax communities. These disturbances created a sequence of mosaic palaeocatenas that supported a wide range of sub-communities at any one moment in time. At least some of the relatively k-selected species that occupied the preceding, fluvially-dominated terrain were extirpated by the persistent volcanism, yielding to immigrants that were better pre-adapted to the unstable environment. Low levels of competition allowed non-adaptive n-selection, enhancing the establishment potential of evolutionary innovations.

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Keywords

A reappraisal of the Dinantian floras at Oxroad Bay, East Lothian, Scotland. 2. Volcanicity, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology

  • Richard M. Bateman (a1) and Andrew C. Scott (a2)

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